Workdogs – A Tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson [Generic Labels] (7″, US)

December 1994 Sympathy For The Record Industry SFTRI 324
MARK SIDE: Too Young To Die
JON and MARCE SIDE: Our Goodman
Workdogs – A Tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson [Generic Labels] (7″, US) - Cover
Black vinyl 7″ in wraparound sleeve with die-cut white paper inner sleeve, small centre hole and generic Sympathy For The Record Industry labels, there was also a version with a jukebox-style hole and Workdogs labels.

Our Goodman is a traditional song dating back to at least 1776 which has been recorded by many different artists under many different titles, as this version is a Tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson it would be a cover of his recording which was as Wake-Up Baby on the the b-side of his 1958 single Your Funeral & My Trial.

MARK SIDE: Too Young To Die
Writer: Sonny Boy Williamson
Published: Sonny Boy Williamson Arc Music Corp. (BMI)
(p) 1994 Workdogs

JON and MARCE SIDE: Our Goodman
with Jon Spencer and Marce Hall
Writers: Trad./Workdogs
(p) 1994 Workdogs

“The Delta blues have been enriched by many extremely talented musicians, but to my mind one man stands above all the rest. Sometimes known as “The Menace” or “The Goat”, his name was Rice Miller, but I knew him as Sonny Boy Williamson. When I met Sonny Boy in Paris he claimed his art was completely unpremeditated. but it was obvious, as I explained to him, that his blues were an extremely subtle musical language, involving exceptionally fine points that few besides Sonny Boy were able to grasp. These techniques had to do with timing, with slight varations in vocal timbre and with being able to execute very precise gradations in pitch that were neither haphazard waverings nor mere effect. Sonny Boy was a master of all this and more. As a stylist he was unsurpassed; as a lyricist he was without parallel. I strongly doubted that I would hear the likes of him again.

What was I to make, then, of the Workdogs who, after an absence of more than two years, appeared at my door waving a battered master tape which they claimed proved that they had met Sonny Boy; who – they maintain – rules an entire circle of Hades! Such bizarre and improbable tales are typical of the Workdogs, though this was more farfetched than any I had heard from them before.

Needless to say, I wanted nothing to do with them after the debacle of their last recording project which I had been left to finish for them after they disappeared with the advance, then faked their own deaths in an insane scheme to boost record sales. However, they insisted that they would not leave until I listened to the tape – what choice did I have?

From the very first bars of Too Young To Die I was stunned. No, of course it wasn’t Sonny Boy – but there was a certain je ne sais quois – an indefinable Something Distinctly Delta that I had never heard from the Workdogs before. As the tape spun on, I was amazed at RobK’s new vocal maturity and the incredible force of Scott Jarvis’ drumming. It was as if they had gained more than twenty years of Blues wisdom in the time since I had last seen them.

Against my own best interests I decided to work with them again in the studio. Once more I turned to the hottest Blues players in town for help, once again the results were superlative. Our Goodman – a traditional tune that was a mainstay of Sonny Boy’s repetoire – is here given ample coverage by the Workdogs who add a few new twists to the age old theme.

More than a full length disc’s worth of material was recorded at these sessions – perhaps the finest work the Workdogs have ever done. More will soon follow, however we decided to first issue this Tribute To Sonny Boy Williamson to honor the man to whom we all owe so much: their very souls, say the Workdogs (part of their ridiculous tall tale is that Sonny Boy was the agent of their escape from Hell); one hundred nine dollars according to our accountant who purchased the use of Too Young To Die; and myself – were it not for that fateful meeting in Paris so long ago who is to say where I would be today.” – Yves Bisquet, NYC.

A Tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson 1899 – 1965
Published by The King Dog Biscuit Co.
Workdogs, PO Box 2539, NYC 10009-8922

Label Text:
“Licensed for Broadcast and Home Use” (Mark Side)
“Electrically Recorded” (Jon and Marce Side)

ARTWORK: [unknown]


Mark Side: “SFTRI 324-A”
Jon and Marce Side: “SFTRI 324-B”